Barcelona’s La Masia has produced a bright player in Lamine Yamal. We look at the situation to ascertain whether the club are potentially misusing this young, but promising, player.
La Masia: Barcelona’s Farmhouse of Talent
La Masia is the farmhouse of FC Barcelona, where new talents are harvested every season. The impact of Barcelona’s football academy on their success in the last two decades cannot be understated. Due to its abilities to consistently fuel supporter anticipation every season, La Masia’s responsibility has grown in recent times.
The name, La Masia, which served as a dormitory for young Barcelona players from 1979 to 2011 is now in colloquial usage amongst sports enthusiasts as the talent factory of the club and it has never let them down.
Notable Achievements of La Masia in the Last Two Decades
- Tracing the calendars back to 2009, Barcelona won their third UEFA Champions League trophy with 8 homegrown players taking up major roles in their journey to becoming European champions.
- The Spanish team won the world cup in 2010 with 6 La Masia graduates starting the final.
- Legends like Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique are notable alumni of the academy – winning almost every trophy possible in professional football.
- Next generation players like Dani Olmo, Xavi Simons, Ferran Jutgla, Ronald Araujo, Gavi, Alejandro Balde and most recently, Lamine Yamal have also continued the trend for Barcelona’s ever-reliable talent production line.
- The latest inclusion of Yamal into Barcelona’s current sporting project is another testament to La Masia’s evolution with modern football. Yet, it maintains its status as the club’s biggest source of back up options.
However, checking the level of responsibilities to be saddled on the young player as well as the current condition of the club is a big challenge for Barcelona coaches. Having incorporated him into the first team at an early age, many questions must be asked.
Questions Surrounding Lamine Yamal
How Will Lamine Yamal Contend With European Football?
The most important question is based on how constantly playing on an elite level can affect his growth as a starlet with great potential. In Barcelona’s 4-3 victory against Villareal, Yamal shone again but was mostly protected by his rivals. This was evident in Alfonso Pederaza’s gestures after he dribbled through two Villareal players in the build up to the fourth goal.
Atmospheres like Estadio de La Ceramica are gentle enough for young opponents to thrive in due to their characterization of flair over power. It’s kind of similar to Camp Nou, Yamal’s home stadium.
Nonetheless, it becomes difficult for a player of his profile if he doesn’t play against a soft marking team. Notably, his minutes against Getafe where he was constantly fouled, harassed and given less time on the ball. Should the situation warrant it, some players result to deliberately tackling rivals roughly to either send them a statement or take one for the team.
Therefore, participating in the Champions League might be a tougher environment for the teenager than in Spain.
In How Many Games Is Lamine Yamal Ideally Expected to Feature?
There’s also the question of how a large number of games at an early age can affect his longevity. Pedri is a noteworthy example. He played more than 60 matches for both club and country in 2020/21, his debut season with Barcelona. Since then, he has missed on average, more than three months of action due to injury every season.
Ansu Fati has also suffered recurring injuries since tearing his meniscus in 2021, a player who was widely regarded as Messi’s replacement at the time.
Barcelona will try to maximize the best out of their profound prodigy without neglecting the place of rest and the necessary protections necessary for a young boy breaking into the limelight.
An Early Career in the National Team?
There are reports that his inclusion into the Spanish national team for Euro qualifiers in September appears very likely as they prepare to battle with Morroco, his country of descent for his international team choice. The big question now remains; how will rivals react to his sudden rise in status and how protected will he be?
Lamine Yamal has the traits of becoming a world class player, which many who have analysed his game can attest. However, he is not the first youngster to attain fame rapidly and he certainly won’t be the last.
The demanding environment of modern football has been a source of worry for players and their representatives as fixture congestions result to inappropriate developmental progress for players with bright future.